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Fall Colors Are Upon Us

It is hard to imagine that it is nearly mid October, feels like we just got to Mackinac and opened the doors for 2013.  But, here we are, only 18 official days until we are closed for the season.  We have a couple big weekends left this season, with Murder Mystery weekend this Friday through Sunday, Win-Some Women, Tuesday through Friday and then Big Band weekend the following Friday through Sunday.   Then of course, we Close the Grand on October 28th at 10:00 a.m.

These October weekends always provide for some great entertainment, great sales on the island, and some beautiful fall color.  Today I wanted to share some scenes from around the island and the beauty that nature provides on Mackinac.

Michigan Recreation and Parks Association at Grand Hotel


Trip Organizer preparation materials

Each spring and fall since 1967, Michigan Recreation and Parks Association has been bringing groups of adults 50 and over to Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel.  Groups from all over the state of Michigan (affectionately referred to by employees and islanders as Mer-Pa’s) come for 3 day retreats to experience the beauty of Mackinac in ways that they may not have the opportunity to do on their own.

Activities begin at the first light of morning and continue until the lights go out at night.  Each group has a Trip Organizer who oversees activities and tries to keep everyone informed of what is going on.  A typical day can include activities ranging from morning yoga, to Bocce Ball and golf tournaments, and photography classes.  Individual guests with the MRPA program can choose which activities they would like to participate in each day.  If sitting on the Front Porch reading a book sounds like the best option for the time of day, they are welcome to do just that.  There is a smorgasbord of activities with a’la carte options.  Which reminds me, the stay includes our five-course dinner and full breakfast daily as well.

This fall, activities included a newcomers tour, napkin folding lessons, putting and chipping contests, carriage tours, cooking demonstrations, an afternoon wine tasting, kitchen tour, historic home tour, history lecture, bingo, photography classes, and for those adventure seekers in the group there was geocaching as well.  The list of activities goes on and the fun doesn’t stop for 3 full days.  There is still space available for the October 21-24, 2013 retreat, call 517-485-9888 with questions and join in the fun this fall!


Fall is here!

Fall colors are in full bloom and there is still time to get here and enjoy it.  We have some great fall packages still available throughout October.  The beauty and serenity that is Mackinac Island in the fall with the brilliant reds and oranges against the bluest of blue skies is something everyone should experience.

Come up for the weekend or just for a quick overnight.  We have several packages available including Ballroom Dance, Murder Mystery, Somewhere In Time, Pure Michigan and Bed & Breakfast.   Quite literally, we have something for everyone and getting here is half the fun.

Hope to see you soon!


MagiCAL … How Art in Public Places Transforms Communities!

Have you ever wondered how public art is created for site-specific locales?  Would you enjoy learning about the conception and creation of a public artwork from the artist’s perspective?

Public artist Anne Marie Karlsen will be here with the Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters, to provide insight into just that.  Ms. Karlsen will be speaking on Saturday at 10:30 a.m during Art’s Weekend at Grand Hotel.

Topics will include:

Researching the Community History

Understanding Mission Statements

Creating healing, restful and inviting environments

Bringing communities together

Establishing a cultural destination through artwork

Most people experience public artwork when they view a finished public art project.  Ms. Karlsen  will provide first hand information about the various conceptual issues an artist addresses when creating works for specific communities and audiences.

The presentation will conclude with a special preview of a new three-dimensional mosaic artwork entitled “Red Cedar Reflections”, recently commissioned by Michigan State University for the lobby of Case Hall. You will see a lively visualization of the artistic inspiration, materials exploration, and step-by-step images of the creating this innovative mosaic for its permanent installation.


Final update to Trees on the Boulevard

The tree project has finally been completed this season with 24 more trees being removed and 31 new trees planted.   The tree service, our Maintenance and Grounds crews worked dilligently for several days to get everything removed and replanted.  They started the morning after we closed the hotel on October 26th and finished a few days later.  Everyone wanted to be completely finished before the weather changed as we all know it can quickly the end of October.

The project was a success and the trees are beautiful.  Thank you to everyone who supported this project.  We know you will enjoy the beauty, and the view this project has and will provide for years to come.

Brisk but beautiful

Here it is, mid-September already!  I can not believe that we only have 6 weeks of the 2011 season left. Where did the summer go?  This morning we woke to temps in the low 50’s and fall is definitely in the air here on Mackinac.  Walking in to work I noticed that the new trees along Cadotte Avenue are already blossoming into what will be their radiant red color. I Can not wait to see them in full color, which appears to be not so far away.

Coming into the hotel I also noticed the fall flowers our Grounds Crew planted this summer are in full bloom.   I have to think that I come in to work each day and see the beauty in all they do but do not really take it all in.   Today,  I decided to take note and I am glad I did.  It wasn’t the nicest day to “stop and smell the flowers”, 54 degrees with a light drizzle but it was still beautiful.   My suggestion to anyone coming for a visit soon, be sure to have your camera batteries charged and take some time to stop and take in the beauty of Mackinac.   It truly is one of the most beautiful spots in the world and I know that personally I plan to take a look around a little more often.

Carleton Varney and Friends Weekend

World-renowned designer and Grand Hotel Decorator Carleton Varney, President of Dorothy Draper & Company, will share his insights and expert advice throughout this entertaining and informative weekend. The fun begins with a Book Signing Fundraiser Reception prior to dinner on Friday. Invited
authors, Mr. Hillary Knight, Illustrator of Eloise at the Plaza, Actress Ms. Barbara Eden, Edwina Sandys (Winston Churchill’s granddaughter), Meg Nolan, Author of the Hideaway Sseries and Carleton Varney who will debut his new book Mr. Color will be on hand for this event. Pianist, Peter Mintun will perform his Cole Porter show after dinner.

Saturday events include a private luncheon for package guests hosted by
Carleton Varney, with a walk through fashion show by designer Punch Hutton whose clothing will be on sale in the Colony Shop.  After dinner Grammy Award winner Rick Dees will introduce wife Julie Dee’s performance of her comedy show, Lady Divas at the Jockey Club.

Join us September 16-18, for this fun filled Carleton Varney and Friends weekend.

View from the Concierge desk


The view from the Concierge desk this past Sunday was a parade of dutiful children escorting their smiling mothers to Grand Hotel’s Main Dining Room for Mother’s Day Brunch. This is an annual tradition of recognition, appreciation and champagne so well deserved by all.

Over the past five days Grand Hotel has played host to world famous artist, Kaffe Fassett. Mr. Fassett has garnered worldwide fame with his knitting, patchwork, colorful textiles, and mosaic artistry. His lecture titled, “The Wonderful World of Colour” seemed quite appropriate for Grand Hotel, which has long been associated with a bold and vibrant palette of colors. All who attended his lectures and workshops gave rave reviews.

The Society of American Travel Writers Western States Chapters descended on Mackinac Island this week. The Society is the largest association of travel communicators in America. 59 strong, they explored the Island’s natural beauty, history, hospitality and culinary skills. It is our great hope they found many stories, magazine articles, photos, video clips, radio and TV ideas to help promote Mackinac Island. These are challenging times for travel writers as newspapers and magazines become thinner and travel budgets become tighter. There’s no better time than now to show the world the magic and value of a trip to Mackinac Island. Thank you for getting the word out SATW.

Finally, Grand Hotel was also graced with the presence of Mrs. Lenore Schultz.
Mrs. Schultz has been coming to Grand Hotel with her friends and family for over 28 years. Mrs. Schultz was spotted dressed to the nines, sporting one of her signature hats as she celebrated her 107th birthday. Yes you read that right, 107th birthday. She is sharp as a tack, quick with a joke, and just plain fun to have in house. See you next year Lenore.

Bob T.